Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Strangers in a Strange Land: Stories From the Road in Death Valley

Strangers in a Strange Van....
Death Valley National Park is one of the country's greatest treasures from a geological point of view. Grand Canyon has the scenery and some great Proterozoic and Paleozoic sediments, but Death Valley has those things too, only multiplied: the Paleozoic layers at the Canyon are about 4,000 feet thick, with the Ordovician and Silurian missing. Death Valley's Paleozoic layers are more like 4 miles thick, and include some Ordovician and Silurian rocks. It is a geologic treasure. There are early and late Proterozoic rocks, granitic intrusions, volcanic rocks (both very old and very new), giant salt flats, dunes, and alluvial fans of all kinds. There are unsolved mysteries out here too.

I'm back from leading a five day trip through Death Valley with 36 students and volunteers, our second largest crew ever. It was exhausting, for the sole reason that a lot of experiences have to occur within a short time. I'll be posting about our adventures in coming days; I hope you will enjoy joining us on this journey!
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